Friday's Betting Notes
August 28, 2013
By Brian Edwards
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Brian Edwards has been the best college football handicapper on VegasInsider.com the past two years in the first quarter of the season. His documented records (47-21, 69%) prove that fact and he’s already locked and loaded for Week 1 in 2013. Click to win!
**Western Michigan at Michigan State**
-- As of Monday, most betting shops had Michigan State installed as a 27 1/2-point favorite with a total of 44 1/2.
-- Mark Dantonio’s team finished 2012 with a disappointing 7-6 straight-up record to go with a 5-8 against-the-spread mark. The Spartans lost five games by a combined 13 points with their only lopsided defeat coming in a 20-3 home loss to Notre Dame.
-- Last season’s issues had nothing to do with the defense. This unit gave up only 16.3 points per game and held opponents to 19 points or fewer in four losses. This group will be stout again in 2013 with seven returning starters, including first-team All Big Ten linebacker Max Bullough, who had a team-high 111 tackles. Bullough also had 10 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three QB hurries and one interception.
-- Michigan St.’s 2013 offense was pedestrian if not downright abysmal. The Spartans averaged only 20.0 PPG despite having a RB who ran for 1,793 yards. But Le’Veon Bell isn’t around anymore and Dantonio hasn’t been in any hurry to declare returning starting QB Andrew Maxwell as this year’s starter. Maxwell completed only 52.5 percent of his passes for 2,606 yards with a 13/9 TD-INT ratio in 2012.
-- Michigan St. compiled an atrocious 0-6 spread record as a home favorite last season. During Dantonio’s tenure, the Spartans are 14-20-1 ATS as home ‘chalk.’
-- Michigan St. starting junior offensive tackle Skyler Burkland is out for the season. Burkland started 11 of 12 games last season and participated in 775 plays. The defensive line could be thin in Week 1 due to the ‘doubtful’ status of nose tackles Lawrence Thomas (undisclosed) and James Kittredge (hernia).
-- Western Michigan went through its worst season since 2004 when it finished 4-8 both SU and ATS last season. This prompted the school to hand Bill Cubit a pink slip following an eight-year tenure.
-- P.J. Fleck is the new head coach. He is familiar with the MAC after a stellar playing career at No. Illinois, where he served on the coaching staff for three seasons. Fleck spent last season in the NFL on Tampa Bay’s staff.
-- Western Michigan returns five starters on offense and seven on defense. Tyler Van Tubbergen returns as the starting QB for his senior campaign. As a junior, Van Tubbergen split time with Alex Carder, throwing for 1,825 yards with a 15/11 TD-INT ratio.
-- Western Michigan will be without its best WR Jaime Wilson due to an ankle injury. Wilson, who had a team-high 67 receptions for 792 yards and six touchdowns last year, isn’t expected to be back until late September or early October.
-- Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday night. The Big Ten Network will provide the telecast.
**Florida Atlantic at Miami**
-- As of Monday, most spots had Miami as a 32 1/2-point favorite with a total of 53 1/2.
-- Al Golden’s team can go to a bowl game for the first time since he took over in 2011. The Hurricanes finished 2012 with a 7-5 SU record and an 8-3-1 ATS mark. They return 10 starters on offense and eight on defense.
-- UM senior QB Stephen Morris threw for 3,345 yards with a 21/7 TD-INT ratio last season. Morris has his top three WRs back, including Phillip Dorsett and his 58 receptions for 842 yards and four TDs. Perhaps most important, the ‘Canes have dynamic sophomore RB Duke Johnson back in the fold. Johnson rushed for 947 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 6.8 YPC last year.
-- If Miami is going to have a shot at winning the ACC, it has got to improve on defense. This unit gave up 30.5 PPG in 2012.
-- Miami owns a 5-5 spread record in 10 games as a home favorite during Golden’s tenure.
-- Florida Atlantic enters its first season in Conference USA after limping to a 3-9 SU record last year. However, the Owls posted a profitable 8-4 ATS ledger. They return six starters on offense and nine on defense.
-- FAU went 6-1 ATS as a road underdog last season.
-- This is the first meeting between these schools.
-- ESPNU will provide television coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Texas Tech at SMU**
-- Most books are listing Texas Tech as a 5 1/2-point favorite with a total of 59 1/2.
-- Texas Tech has a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, who is the school’s second all-time leading passer and the youngest BCS coach in America. Kingsbury was Kevin Sumlin’s offensive coordinator at Texas A&M last season, helping Johnny Manziel win the Heisman Trophy.
-- Texas Tech finished 2012 with an 8-5 SU record and a 6-7 ATS mark. The Red Raiders beat Minnesota 34-31 at the Car Care Bowl, but they failed to cover as 13-point ‘chalk.’
-- Sophomore Michael Brewer was expected to take over as the new starter at the QB position. As a redshirt freshman, Brewer connected on 34-of-48 passes for 375 yards with four TDs and zero interceptions. However, a back injury has Brewer sidelined with two freshman QBs competing for the job. The winners will have one of the Big 12’s top WRs in Eric Ward, who had 82 receptions for 1,053 yards and 12 TDs last season. The Red Raiders also return their leading rusher, Kenny Williams, who had 824 rushing yards and five TDs while averaging 5.8 YPC.
-- Texas Tech returns five starters on offense and eight on defense.
-- Texas Tech owns a 5-0 spread record in its last five games as a road favorite.
-- In addition to Brewer, starting OG Tony Morales is ‘out’ with a shoulder injury. Also, starting WR/TE Jace Amaro has to sit out the first half due to a suspension. Amaro had 25 catches for 409 yards and four TDs last year.
-- SMU compiled a 7-6 SU record to go with an 8-5 ATS mark in 2012. The Mustangs ended the year on a high note by spanking Fresno St. 43-10 as 13-point underdogs at the Hawaii Bowl. They bring back six starters on offense and five on defense.
-- Senior QB Garrett Gilbert, a transfer from Texas, struggled early in his first season in June Jones’s offense. But Gilbert played much better late in the year and finished with 2,932 passing yards. His favorite target in 2013 will be Jeremy Johnson, who had 67 receptions for 679 yards and three TDs last season.
-- As a home underdog on Jones’s watch, SMU has posted an 8-3 spread record.
-- SMU has lost 14 in a row to Texas Tech in this rivalry.
-- Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.